RANGERS FANS in Northern Ireland have garnered criticism after breaking Covid-19 protocol to celebrate the club’s first league title in a decade.
Large crowds were pictured gathered on Belfast’s Shankill Road in the aftermath of Celtic’s 0-0 draw with Dundee United; a result which confirmed Rangers as champions.
The gathering took place despite Northern Ireland being under strict social distancing rules designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
It also comes despite the PSNI previously urging fans to celebrate Rangers’ win safely.
“We would encourage anyone intending to celebrate today’s Scottish Premier League result, to do so at home safely and within the current Health Regulations,” they tweeted.
Instead, fans gathered in the Northern Irish capital brandishing flags and flares with traffic along Shankill Road brought to a virtual standstill as a result.
Images of the wild celebrations drew strong rebuke on social media with one person describing the actions of those present as a “slap in the face for those of us sticking to the rules.”
Welcome to the Party on Belfast's Shankill Road! 🇬🇧🏆5️⃣5️⃣ pic.twitter.com/RaephFvwOo
— Rangers FC & Linfield FC (@bluesbrothers86) March 7, 2021
East Derry MP Gregory Campbell had earlier urged fans not to breach the Covid-19 rules, warning it could end up being a day to forget rather than one to savour if it resulted in more people being hospitalised with the virus.
“No one is more delighted than myself to see this success for the Gers. It’s been a long road. But so has the battle against Covid,” he said.
“I understand the desire for celebrations but that doesn’t justify breaking the public health rules.
“It would be a bad day for Northern Ireland Rangers fans if a hallmark of 55 league titles was to be fans in ICU beds rather than being able to cheer their team on to more success.
“There will be plenty of time to celebrate in due course when the vaccine has been rolled out.”